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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Fiscal FactCheck

Washington’s spending has recently been higher as a percentage of the nation’s economic output than at any time since World War II. But by the same measure, Washington’s revenues are the lowest in more than 60 years. …

Deficit Arithmetic: Cut Everything 34% Now?

Without an increase in the debt ceiling, could Washington avoid default simply by cutting spending? That's what two leading Republicans, Rep. Michele Bachmann and Sen. Jim DeMint, urged over the weekend. What they didn't say is that this would require instant cuts of at least 34 percent in everything but interest payments. And the cuts would be far deeper if Congress exempted popular programs for the elderly, or for defense.
Minnesota Rep. Bachmann, appearing on CBS'

DCCC, Crossroads Usher in 2012 Campaign

Less than a month after the new Congress convened, House Democrats and a conservative outside group traded accusations (some bogus, some not) in the first ads of the 2012 campaign. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee started …

Geithner’s GDP Whopper

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner made a false claim about the size of government spending being proposed by the Obama administration.
On NBC’s "Meet the Press" July 25, he said the president is proposing spending "as a share of our economy" that is "lower" than it was during the Bush administration and "comparable" to what it was under Ronald Reagan. Neither claim is true.
The administration’s own estimates project spending next year that is higher as a percentage of the economy than in any year since the end of World War II.

A False Attack on a Palin-backed “Mama Grizzly”

One of Sarah Palin’s annointed "Mama Grizzlies" is under attack in Georgia — for not being conservative enough to suit Republican primary voters. But we find the attack is misleading and makes false claims.
In the race to be governor of Georgia, the Palin-backed candidate is Secretary of State Karen Handel. One of her main opponents in the July 20 GOP primary is Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine. His ad claims that as a Fulton County commissioner Handel presided over spending that "skyrocketed,"

Pork Radio

Former GOP presidential nominee John McCain is running attack ads again — this time against a fellow Republican who may contest his Senate seat this year.
Hotline’s Reid Wilson has the script for a new radio spot McCain is running against former congressman (and current Arizona radio personality) J.D Hayworth, who has been making moves toward a primary challenge against McCain.
The ad says that Hayworth "sounds conservative on the radio, but J.D. was one of the biggest spenders in Congress.

Obama’s Health Care News Conference

President Obama tried to sell his health care overhaul in prime time, mangling some facts in the process. He also strained to make the job sound easier to pay for than experts predict. Obama promised once again that a health care overhaul “will be paid for.” But congressional budget experts say …

The $79 Billion Iraqi Surplus, Reconsidered

We’ve criticized both Barack Obama and Joe Biden several times now for claiming that the U.S. is spending $10 billion a month to Iraq while that nation is sitting on a $79 billion surplus. We wrote that the $79 billion figure was out of date because Iraq had since passed a $22.3 billion supplemental spending bill. Our criticism was based on a report from the Government Accountability Office. But we misread the report. The figure that Obama and Biden use is probably still too high,

Big Spender?

McCain once again attacked Obama for proposing new spending, putting the figure at more than $860 billion. But at the same time, McCain himself began the debate by proposing a new spending program, to buy up troubled mortgages directly from homeowners and replace them with 30-year loans guaranteed by the government. McCain’s campaign e-mailed reporters with the following cost estimate:

McCain press release: The direct cost of this plan would be roughly $300 billion because the purchase of mortgages would relieve homeowners of “negative equity”

More on that $860 billion

McCain said that Obama has proposed $860 billion in new spending. That’s based on a McCain campaign estimate of how much Obama’s new proposals will cost, without figuring in any savings or reductions in spending. Any increase in funding and any created program counts as “new spending” in this estimate, whether or not it is offset by decreases in spending elsewhere. A more traditional, and arguably more useful, measure of spending is how much a given candidate’s proposals will increase the federal deficit.